Study Abroad Program in Guadalajara
2007 Heiskell Award Honorable Mention: Study Abroad
Nomination submitted by: Dr. Ivan Nikolov, Director of International Programs
In 2002-2003, administrators of Valdosta State University’s Study Abroad Program in Guadalajara made substantial changes in their 15-year old program to better prepare students to work and live with the growing Hispanic population in Georgia. First, in effort to include students who would not otherwise study abroad, administrators opened program enrollment to non-Spanish majors. Recognizing that Spanish language acquisition and cultural understanding were also important for students from disciplines such as sociology, social work, criminal justice, nursing and education, recruitment now targets students in these disciplines, as well. In addition, administrators extended program offerings to include English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses. Named the “ESOL Endorsement,” these classes act as an add-on component of teacher certification and are aimed to make teachers more effective in the multicultural classroom. While successfully increasing diversity in study abroad, Valdosta State is also equipping students from all disciplines with skills to better serve the community in which they will soon be working.